THE attempt by organisers to have as many countries in the world represented in the 2016 Great North Run half marathon as possible has passed the 90% mark – with less than a month to go until the event.
The latest country to be announced is Andorra, the 176th nation out of 193 UN Member States, following hot on the heels of St Kitts and Nevis and San Marino which were unveiled earlier in the week.
After becoming the first running event in the world to welcome a million runners over the finish line in its 35-year history, organisers the Great Run Company are keen to recruit as many of the world’s countries as possible at the half marathon between Newcastle upon Tyne and South Shields, which takes place on Sunday, September 11.
So far Uzbekistan, Suriname, Vanuatu and Myanmar are among the nations to have been recruited.
To put the challenge in perspective, the population of Tuvalu – one of the final countries on the list – is 10,000, which makes the island nation smaller than Yorkshire town Wetherby.
Organisers are on the lookout for any potential runners who were born in one of the 193 countries and have worked with businesses such as Ringtons, who supplied the representative of Rwanda after recruiting a runner from its tea estate in Sorwathe.
Great North Run communications director David Hart hopes that the ongoing Olympic Games could inspire a runner from one of the remaining countries to come forward.
“With the Olympic Games proving itself once more to be the greatest show on earth, we’re delighted with our progress made so far in recruiting runners from all over the world to take part in the Great North Run,” he said.
“This will give the whole weekend a truly global feel and I’m sure it will make it even more special.”